04 November 2003 | Gareth Mytton
The UK's lengthy building boom continued in October, according to the latest PMI report.
The seasonally adjusted purchasing managers' index (PMI) - a composite indicator of sector conditions published by CIPS and NTC Research - climbed to 58.9, to record the fastest growth in activity since July 2001. The PMI has now been above the 50 figure that indicates no change on the previous month for nearly five years.
Commercial construction activity maintained its recent robust expansion, at 58.3, thanks to improved confidence in the wider economy. Housing was again the star performer, at 64.9, as demand for new homes stimulated further growth.
Civil engineering also enjoyed accelerating growth, up from 52.5 in September to 56.
Almost 36 per cent of building firms said new orders were higher than a month earlier, as the index rose to 59.5. And one in five companies took on more staff to increase their capacity to meet fresh work.
Businesses also made greater use of subcontractors (54.9), whose rates increased at the sharpest since July, but their quality improved marginally.
Purchasing activity increased to meet new and anticipated increases in orders and workload. Input price inflation also picked up, owing to shortages of raw materials and rising oil prices, which pushed up fuel costs.